|Huck Poe as Diagnostradamus at Elgin Fringe Festival.|
The man called "Diagnostradamus" operates the origami fortune teller ten times with his fingers, once for every letter in yellow bile. "Choose a precept of Buddha's Eightfold Path to Arahtship," he says. I choose Right Effort. Beneath its flap of origami: a six.
"Choose a number between 27 and 259," he says. I choose 856. I choose again: 156. Diagnostradamus produces a paperback book of medicine, describing sicknesses, illnesses and deformities. The sixth disease on page 156 is Hypothyroidism. As he reads, I feel my energy flagging, my digestion coming to a halt.
From this, Diagnostradaumus divines for me a fortune. "This indicates a lack of vitality, a cessation of growth. You need to break out of your monotony and discover and experience new things."
I thank him without making eye contact and make my way south on Spring Street, with a backpack full of ice beer, rough drafts of performance reviews, a Fringe Festival program and an empty bottle of Aleve. His services were free.